1 Robert F. Tyler Of Counsel I consider practicing law to be a calling of the highest honor because it allows me to counsel and represent clients, helping them shape their lives in the ways they desire or aiding them in times of trouble. About Robert F. Tyler Robert F. Tyler is presently of counsel to Wilke Fleury, after having been a partner for 14 years. Robert is both a seasoned trial attorney with wide ranging experience (over 60 trials) in a variety of disciplines, both on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants, as well as an appellate attorney with over 30 published decisions in a wide variety of topics. In the course of his career, he has practiced in state and federal courts up through the United States and California Supreme Courts, specializing in areas ranging from criminal law, welfare class actions, attorneys fees disputes, general civil litigation, general personal injury litigation (both plaintiff and defendant), medical malpractice (defendant only), federal and state civil rights litigation, trust and estate litigation, as well as regulatory and licensing matters in the health services, social services, education, insurance and banking fields. Robert served as Supervising Deputy Attorney General with the California Attorney General s Office in Sacramento for 14 years, specializing in appellate and trial criminal law; civil, appellate and trial litigation practice in the criminal, tort, health, education and welfare, and business and taxation sections. Practice Areas Professional Liability Defense General Civil Litigation Civil Rights Litigation Education University of California, Los Angeles: J.D. (1974) University of California, Los Angeles: M.A. (1971) Occidental College: A.B. (1969) Professional Experience Wilke, Fleury, Hoffelt, Gould & Birney, LLP: Partner (May 1999 present) Lanius & Tyler: Partner (June April 1999) Office of the California Attorney General, Sacramento, California o Supervising Deputy Attorney General, Business and Taxation Section of the Civil Division (May May 1990) o Deputy Attorney General, Tort and Condemnation Section of the Civil Division (January April 1986) Rust, Armenis & Schwartz, Sacramento, California: Attorney/Shareholder (May December 1984) Office of the California Attorney General, Sacramento, California o Deputy Attorney General, Health, Education and Welfare Section, Civil Division (September April 1982) o Deputy Attorney General, Criminal Law Division (September August 1977) Representative Matters Sacramento Municipal Court Sacramento District Attorney s Office 1976
2 Three misdemeanor drink driving prosecutions in Sacramento Municipal Court while on loan to Sacramento District Attorney s Office for one month in Various suppression motions. Two convictions and one hung jury. People v. Barejas. Fresno Superior Court 1977 Fresno Superior Court, Prosecution for burglary of district attorney s investigators home. Defendant found unable to stand trial due to mental disability under Penal Code 1372 after 2 day contested court trial. People v. Lopez. Porterville Municipal Court 1975 Porterville Municipal Court, Prosecution for shoplifting. Conviction following two day jury trial. People v. Oliver. Tulare Superior Court 1976 Tulare Superior Court, Felony prosection for possession of Marijuana with intent to cell. Conviction following three day trial. People v. Perez. Sacramento Municipal Court 1977 Sacramento Municipal Court, Prosecution for misdemeanor assault and battery. Conviction following three day trial. People v. Perry & Jones. Mariposa Superior Court 1978 Mariposa Superior Court, Prosecution for felony burglary, breaking and entering, and theft. Conviction following three day jury trial. People v. Gonzales. Fresno Superior Court 1978 Fresno Superior Court, Prosecution for felony possession of heroin and possession for sale. Conviction following four day jury trial. Alta Bates v. Stubblebine Class action by California Hospital Association against Medi-Cal program for 10% reduction in out-patient reimbursement due to budget crises. Demand $3.75 million. Offer $2.75 million. Five day court trial on claims defense and damages. Court had entered partial summary judgment on liability before I was assigned case. At trial, court ruled 90% of class barred from relief and reduced damages. Plaintiffs appealed from verdict, with cross-appeal on liability. Judgment reversed on appeal with Third District Court of Appeal holding no liability, i.e., judgment for defendant. Rose Mahoney v. State day jury, Excessive force suit against California Highway Patrol following drunk driving arrest (and acquittal). Demand $25,000.00, reduced to $10, No offer. Defense verdict.
3 Guinan v. Regents. Wrongful termination suit by nurse arrested and discharged at UCD Medical Center for diverting drugs, primarily Morphine and Codeine. Criminal charges dismissed by District Attorney, while Nursing Board s disciplinary proceedings (on basis of diversion) were dismissed following lengthy administrative hearing. Demand $250, Offer $75, Judgment for defendants nurses, campus police, and Regents on motion for summary judgment heard one month prior to trial. Seagraves v. State 1982, court trial, The Sacramento Monkey Trial Suit by creationists to enjoin the teaching of evolution in the California Science Curriculum. Five day court trial largely centering around geologic, archaeologic, biochemical, and genetic foundations for theory of evolution, coupled with comparison of scientific method against creationist theory. Court verdict upholding California science curriculum framework advocating teaching of evolutionary theory. Cornish v. Carey El Dorado Superior Court 1984 El Dorado Superior Court 7 day jury trial (for plaintiff), Retried after reversed on appeal from prior defense verdict. Calcaneal ( workingman s ) fracture to subcontractor on job site due to alleged defective dangerous condition. $5, offer, $100, demand. Defense verdict after 3 days of deliberation. Williams v. Dunlap Tire 1984, jury (1984). Railcar accident with allegation of improper loading of truck tires causing injury to plaintiff when he opened door to car at dock. Confirmed diagnosis of posttraumatic epilepsy with contention condition may be pre-existed. Demand $250, lowered to $185, at settlement conference. Offer $50, (split half and half with co-defendant owner of loading dock). Settled after four days of trial for $75, (split half and half). Sierra Summit v. State Board of Equalization United States Supreme Court United States Supreme Court. Contempt citation for violation of automatic stay in bankruptcy. Appealed to Bankruptcy Appellate Panel, 9th Circuit, and then to Supreme Court, where citation reversed, over-ruling 30 year old 9th circuit precedent regarding taxability of bankruptcy liquidation sales. Layton v. Marshall Hospital April 1991 (April 15 to April 25, 1991). 9 day jury trial of Res Ipsa Loquitur theory resulted in a hung jury, 8-4 for the defense, largely due to repeated acts of misconduct plaintiffs counsel committed during the latter stages of trial. Plaintiffs did not retry the case. Plaintiff was admitted for a scheduled Cesarean section delivery and began complaining of shoulder pain approximately 16 hours post-operatively. No clear pathology was ever diagnosed. Plaintiff asked for an award her of $85, Case ultimately dismissed. California Regional Contractors and Ames v. Edwards United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of California June 1992
4 United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of California court trial, three days (for plaintiff), June Representation plaintiff sole shareholder and his corporation. Adversary complaint against bankrupt debtor seeking judgment for fraud and emotional distress for acts committed by debtor operating under power of attorney granted him by plaintiff while plaintiff was in alcohol rehabilitation. Demand $25,000 non-dischargeable judgment. Offer - $0. Verdict: $88,000 to corporation for defalcations committed against its accounts and for unpaid taxes; $38,000 to plaintiff sole shareholder for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Both judgments declared non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. Hofheinz v. Regents (UCDMC) September days jury, September Claim of nursing negligence in failing to properly restrain closed head injury patient with prior demonstrated instances of combative behavior. Upon release, he overpowered the nurse and jumped from a fourth floor window, fracturing his os calcis and possibly his wrist. Contention was that past behaviors should have lead nurse to release patient only with the presence of additional staff sufficient to control him. Plaintiff asked for $345,000. Defense verdict, with verdict for hospital on cross-complaint for unpaid medical charges in the amount of $42,500 plus accrued interest and attorney s fees. No appeal. Thomas, Genevieve v. Regents (UCDMC) June 1995 Court trial, 8 days, June Two days following a double wedge resection via thoracotomy for metastatic squamous cell cancers of the left lung, decedent George Thomas was taken back to the operating room after a large quantity of frank blood was expelled through one of his chest tubes. While exploration initially found no situs to explain this bleeding, a clot was ultimately discovered on the decedent s aorta which, when sponged, immediately produced a massive exsanguination, which led to extreme hypotension, cardiac arrest, and profound metabolic acidosis before control could be achieved. After brain death was diagnosed two days later and life support withdrawn, the decedent expired. Plaintiff alleged that the aortic defect was the product either of a sharp s or retractor injury during the wedge resection itself and further alleged that the primary surgeon was negligent in returning the decedent to the operating room for the emergency exploratory surgeon, then failing to summon a cardiovascular surgeon at various points during the exploratory surgery before the exsanguination occurred and then electing to place the decedent on bypass as opposed to cross-clamp. Plaintiff also contended that the res ipsa loquitur applied due to aortic eruption itself. Last demand $25, during settlement conference. Defense verdict. No appeal. Rossbach, Kelly Glenn v. Regents (UCDMC) February days, February Plaintiffs allege negligent treatment of a severely apneic infant and negligent failure to adequately work up the patient to diagnose a double aortic arch. The workup of the patient was complicated by the presence of acute lower airway infections. Damages claimed were moderate mental retardation due to multiple instances of severe respiratory acidosis. Plaintiff was requesting $3.2 to 3.7 million dollars. Last demand $350, Defense verdict. No appeal Austin v. Regents (UCDMC) and Feld September 1995
5 23 days, September Plaintiff alleged negligent treatment, and negligent advice by Regents and their employee resident Feld following a mild myocardial infarction that he suffered in 1995 led him to improvidently suffer a major myocardial infarction shortly after his discharge from UCDMC. Plaintiff suffered a severe disability as a result of this second myocardial infarction, and alleged severe brain damage due to an alleged anoxia that he suffered during the course of that second MI itself. Claimed damages of future loss of wages, need for future care, etc. Plaintiff requested 1MM from the jury. No offer. Defense verdict. No appeal. Washington, Guyle v. Regents (UCDMC) April days, April Plaintiff alleged mispositioning during bariatric (stomach stapling) surgery resulted in permanent nerve palsy to his right (dominant hand). Defendant contended that while nerve problem was certainly temporally related to the surgery itself, the problem was not caused by intraoperative positioning, but instead by some of the natural physiologic stresses placed upon the plaintiff s body both during the surgery as well as the immediate post-surgical period. Plaintiff requested $300, Last demand, $50, Offer none. Defense verdict. No appeal. Bakes v. Regents (UCDMC), Magorien, and Chen April days, April Wrongful death action in which plaintiffs alleged that the plaintiffs decedent was misdiagnosed as having a stroke, when she had actually had a syncopal event triggered by a medication that co-defendant cardiologist had prescribed for her. The codefendant internist was further alleged to have failed to appreciate the problem, all of which was then alleged to have led to her death due to a drug toxicity reaction some three weeks later. Defendants contended that the plaintiffs decedent in fact had a stroke, and that she died from a cardiac sudden death, not from any type of toxic reaction to the cardiac medication she was on. Plaintiffs requested $400, Offers none. Defense verdict. Plaintiffs appealed, judgment and verdict upheld on appeal. Hollingsworth, Quartnei v. Knowles & (UCDMC) May 1997, 16 days, May Dental reconstruction surgery on mentally retarded child as a result of bottle mouth carries. Primary allegation was first that the extraction of 18 of the child s 24 teeth was not dentally necessary, and second, that plaintiff s mother was not adequately consulted concerning the extensive nature of the extractions, before they were actually done. Defendant admitted that an inadequate advisement had been given the mother as to the number of extractions that were done, but contended that those extractions were medically necessary. As before, 18 of the child s 24 deciduous teeth were removed, allegedly resulting in need for orthodonture to retain spacing of her teeth pending eruption of the child s permanent teeth some 3 to 4 years hence. Additional claimed pain and suffering due to extractions themselves, and alleged effect upon child s appearance and self-image. Plaintiff requested $400, from the jury. Last demand, $250, Offer none. Plaintiff s verdict for $1, Motion for new trial on the basis of inadequacy of damages denied. No appeal. Poole v. Regents (UCDMC) September October trial days, September October Plaintiffs alleged negligent performance of thoraco-ileal bypass, resulting in transection of small bowel by graft itself, ultimately
6 resulting in bowel obstruction, sepsis, need for re-operation, etc. Workup and treatment of the patient was complicated by the presence of severe radioenteritis as a result of treatment in the 50s with high dose radiation for a Wilms s tumor. Claimed damages of general failure to thrive, failure to be gainfully employed at prior levels, pain and suffering etc. Plaintiffs requested $500, in closing argument. Last demand, $250, Last offer, none. Defense verdict. No appeal. Rasmussen v. Bakey April day jury trial (for plaintiff), April MVA. Plaintiff passenger suffered reversible facial scarring and post-traumatic amnesia. No wage loss. Minimal specials. $5, offer. $52,000 verdict. No appeal. Meeks v. Watsonville Community Hospital U.S. District Court, North District of California May 1998 U.S. District Court, North District of California 4 day jury trial, May EMTALA case alleging patient dump in transfer of brain damaged patient to secondary care center in Salinas. Defense verdict. Smith v. NorthBay (NorthBay Medical Center) Solano Superior Court October - December 1998 Solano Superior Court 30+ trial days, October through December Alleged failure of workup and mismanagement of transmediastinal gunshot wound, allegedly resulting in failure to timely transfer the plaintiff to a high level trauma center. Just prior to transport, the plaintiff suffered a massive bleed out resulting in a series of cardiac arrests, ultimately resulting in a severe anoxic brain injury to the point to where the plaintiff, a 31 year old female, will remain in a persistent vegetative state for the remainder of her life. Plaintiffs requested the costs of pain and suffering, as well as nursing care to maintain the plaintiff in a step-down medical unit on ventilatory support for the remainder of her life (the plaintiff has no motor function whatsoever while her mental functioning is largely limited to blinking her eyes). Plaintiff requested between $10-$15 million. Last demand none stated. Last offer - $1 million from one of the co-defendant emergency room physicians, none from client hospital. Defense verdict in 45 minutes. No appeal. Epstein v. Regents (UCDMC) January trial days, January Alleged mis-performance of cardiac catheterization, as well as inadequate monitoring following same, allegedly resulting in perforation of cardiac artery, with exsanguination into pericardial sac producing pericardial tamponade. As a result, the plaintiff, a 77 year old retired mechanical engineer, suffered several cardiac arrests, and severe anoxic brain injury severely affecting his cognitive functions in all domains, rendering him the functional equivalent of a three year old child. Claimed general damage claims on behalf of both plaintiff husband and wife, as well as special damage claims for future nursing and respite care for the plaintiff husband. Plaintiffs requested $650, to $800, in their final argument. Last demand $300, Offer none. Defense verdict. No appeal. Joyce Felty v. Hassan (UCDMG Vacaville) Solano Superior Court November 2001 Solano Superior Court 14 trial days, November Plaintiff alleged failure of defendant physician (of Arab extraction) to workup and diagnose an underlying cardiac condition, which was alleged to have
7 resulted in massive heart attack which led to severe cardiac dysfunction and disability. Workup of the patient was complicated by numerous co-morbid conditions. Claimed damages consisted of severe disability due to death of approximately one half of the heart muscle during the heart attack in question, as well as need for ongoing medical care. Plaintiff requested approximately $400, from the jury. Last demand $200, No offer. Defense verdict after 2 hours. No appeal. Parcell v. Regents (UCDMC) May - July trial days, May through July Plaintiffs alleged failure to adequately stabilize the plaintiff s undiagnosed neck injury, coupled with failure to adequately work up and diagnose the injury itself, resulting in a partial cord injury. Work up of the patient was complicated by multiple other injuries, which defendant claimed necessitated two intervening surgeries which compounded efforts to make diagnosis. Claimed damages both loss of consortium on part of husband, as well as physical injuries of the plaintiff (partial sexual dysfunction, right hemiplegia) as well as claimed future nursing services and (as to husband) loss of household services. Plaintiffs requested a jury verdict of between $1.6 million and $2.4 million. Last demand none. Last offer, none. Hung jury (7-5, defendant) after three weeks of deliberations. Case ultimately settled for $400, Wayne Walker and Lynne Walker v. Regents (UCDMC). May trial days, May Retained sponge case, in which the sponge count was noted as off following completion of bariatric (stomach stapling) surgery. Surgeons searched for the sponge for over an hour but were unable to find it, and then did two x-rays. Both x-rays read by surgeons as negative (no sponge disclosed) whereupon the procedure terminated and the plaintiff taken to the recovery room in violation of hospital policy mandated films be read by radiologist (as opposed to surgeon) before operation terminated. The following day, a radiology overread of one of the films called the presence of the sponge. However, then was no direct communication from that radiologist to surgeon of this finding. Two days later, the surgeon reordered yet another set of films, which for various technical reasons were of much better quality. The sponge was found, and patient returned to surgical suite, where he was reopened and the sponge removed. Patient subsequently developed a pulmonary embolus, requiring one week rehospitalization, and then suffered various complications at the wound site, first in the development of a wound infection, and then after another year, a ventral hernia in which the would surgery line reopened, thus necessitating another surgery for a hernia repair. Plaintiffs alleged over one year of loss wages, as well as 6 months of claimed nursing services rendered to the plaintiff husband by the plaintiff wife, along with loss of various household services by the plaintiff husband during his one year convalesce. Claim for general damages at MICRA limits by both husband and wife, as well as value of the above-described services. Plaintiffs ultimately asked the jurors to award $550, to $750, Last demand, $175, during Settlement Conference. Last offer $125, Jury verdict for plaintiffs (admitted liability on one area, directed verdict on two others) with an award of $140, on behalf of plaintiff husband (total) and $5, on behalf of plaintiff wife. No appeal. Hamilton v. NorthBay Medical Center Solano Superior Court July 2003 Solano Superior Court 9 day jury, July Plaintiff alleged failure to diagnose pulmonary embolism by Emergency Room physician, resulting in later cardio respiratory collapse and death. Claimed damage wrongful death. Plaintiff requested $250, (MICRA cap). Last demand $100, No offer. Defense verdict. No appeal.
8 Parsons v. O Regan (Edward O Regan, M.D.). Butte County Superior Court February 2004 Butte County Superior Court 18 trial days, February Plaintiffs alleged negligent treatment of decedent s diabetic condition, and his diabetic nephropathy in particular. Alleged failure to adequately research and advise the decedent of the potential risks of a treatment (IVIg) prescribed to treat his motor neuropathy. Allegations were that foreseeable side effect of that treatment ultimately caused the decedent s death. Claimed damages: wrongful death with loss of household services. Plaintiffs requested $600, Last offer zero. Hung jury (8-4, defendant). Case settled for $225, Afrooz v. Betpolous Santa Clara Superior Court May 2004 Santa Clara Superior Court 1 day, May Represented plaintiff in a collection action on a oral loan agreement. Defendant contested not only the agreement itself, but also contended that the agreement was barred by the applicable statute of limitations (some six years elapsed between the ostensible breach of that agreement and the filing of the complaint). Plaintiff contended that the defendant was equitably estopped from asserting the limitations defense. Court trial found for plaintiff, further finding that the defendant was estopped from asserting the limitations defense. Damages awarded of $50, on loan itself, with $61, of accrued interest after the date of the making of the contract. Seely v. Nilas Young, M.D. Sacramento County Superior Court October-December 2006 Sacramento County Superior Court 22 Trial days, October-December Plaintiff alleged improvident recommendation of triple vessel coronary arterial bypass grafting procedure, negligent conduct of the surgery itself, and various improprieties in post-operative care, leading to sternal osteomyelitis and permanent disability from his prior occupation as long haul trucker. Claimed damages of pain and suffering, past and future wage loss, and future life care services. Plaintiff requested $2MM. Last offer zero. Defense verdict, two hours of deliberation. Licenses and Admissions Robert is admitted to practice before the following courts: All courts in the State of California The United States District Courts for the Eastern and Northern Districts of California The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals The United States Supreme Court Professional Involvement and Memberships California State Bar Commission on Corrections: Member ( ) American Board of Trial Attorneys (2008) California Medical Legal Committee (2011) Presentations and Publications Robert has conducted various in-service presentations to students, residents and fellows at the University of California Davis, Medical School on topics ranging from use of the Electronic Medical Record, to medical and psychiatric charting, and the correct way to approach trial and deposition testimony.
9 Civic and Community Involvement Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Roseville, CA: Council Member ( ) St. Stephen s Lutheran Church, El Dorado Hills, CA: Council Member ( ) El Dorado Hills County Water District: Director ( ) El Dorado Hills Residents Association: President ( ) CASA Volunteer, El Dorado County Superior Court, (2012- present) Personal Robert is married with three grown children.